VOV: Nanortalik, Greenland

Saturday, August 6, 2022

I had been thinking about participating in the Polar Bear plunge ever since I saw it advertised. Chuck reminded me that I hate cold water so much that I even wear a neoprene shirt in the Caribbean Sea to be able to swim in those warm waters. I was on the fence about it until I heard they were not going to drain the heated Sea View pool and fill it with cold sea water; but instead, they were just going to pour some ice in it. So, it was going to be a faux-Polar Bear plunge. Okay, I was going for it.

I put on my swimsuit, jacket, wool cap, and my bathrobe and Chuck and I headed up to the Sea View pool area. There was already a crowd gathered – participants and onlookers. One of the entertainment staff was asking anyone who wanted to participate to sign a sheet so we could receive our certificates later.

A little after 4:00, the participants lined up around the pool. The wind was so cold and fierce. The entertainment director gave the spiel about how the Polar Bear plunge was a time-honored tradition and those of us who completed the plunge would be esteemed members of the Royal Dutch Society of Polar Bears. Once she was finished, her helpers dumped tubs and tubs of ice – everything from small cubes to giant chunks – a whole lot more than I anticipated. They were floating all over the top of the pool. We would have to jump through the floating ice to reach the warmer water.

One by one, she called our names and everyone made the leap until all names were called. The last person to jump in was our Cruise Director Glen. It was a shock to go through the ice but the water was fine. We stayed in for a few minutes laughing and splashing. However, the dreaded time had come to get out of the pool. The cold wind hit me so hard my teeth were chattering out of my mouth before I completely pulled myself out of the water. Chuck was right there with two pool towels helping me dry off. Got my robe back on and headed down to the room for a hot shower. The hot shower was heavenly.

My jump
Cruise Director coming to jump

Was it fun? Yes. I am glad I did something out of my comfort zone. Would I do it again on a future cruise? Highly doubtful.

We had dinner later on that night in the main dining with a couple we first met in Quaqatok, Greenland. We have been on several of the same excursions. She had also participated in the Polar Bear plunge. Three of us had the baked snapper but I was the only one who liked it. We really enjoyed our conversation with them – so much so that I forgot to take a photo of the food.

Chuck and I went to listen to the first set of the Ocean Bar band. After the set ended, we went to the main show – Jeff Wayne, comedian. He had a few good jokes but mostly he was corny. We then listened to the last set of the band and called it a night. The fog never lifted, and I wondered if the ship’s foghorn would blow all night.

I heard the ship’s foghorn all night even with my earplugs. I got up at 6:00 to check to see if it was still foggy but was greeted with clear skies and a number of icebergs. We had no big plans for today but the time ashore was short – 7:00 to 1:30 – and it was a tender port, so I knew we had to get moving.

After coffee and a breakfast in the main dining room, we boarded the 9:00 tender for the short ride over to the town. We walked up the main road to the Old Timber Church which was built in 1916.

We then bought admission into the outdoor Nanortalik Museum comprised of nine separate historic buildings. We enjoyed walking through them and admiring the displays from Old Norse to Inuit to Danish colonists.




There were street performers, a craft market, and people just going about their day. Our last stop was the local grocery store to see what types of items were available. Again, I had to restrain myself from buying a bag of huge raisin buns.

She was singing native songs

While I was making a restroom stop in the Visitor Center, Chuck made some friends. The little girl toddled up to him, followed by her brother, both under the watchful eye of their mother. Seems like every trip, either children or animals or both find their way to Chuck. They recognize a good soul.

We took the 11:30 tender back to the ship and spent a relaxing afternoon watching the icebergs go by. Wasn’t long before it was time to get ready for our Canaletto dinner.


Travel Trivia

Nanortalik, Greenland

Pronunciation: NAN-or-TAH-lick

The name Nanortalik means “Place of Polar Bears” or “Place Where the Polar Bears Go” -because polar bears are occasionally seen hunting on the drift ice outside of town.

One that got too close to town

Nanortalik is the southernmost town in Greenland, located on an island also called Nanortalik, at the mouth of Tasermiut Fjord. The settlement dates back to the late 18th centruy with Norsemen first setting foot on the land. It wasn’t until later when the far north Inuit arrived on the scene and a trading depot was erected.

The main industries are crab fishing, seal hunting, fishing, and gold mining in the Kirkespir Valley.

Greenland’s only natural forest is 25 miles northwest of Nanortalik.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia and Holland America documents

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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